An Unexpected Life

By Sulia Serafine

Chapter 5: Nights Out

Disclaimer: I do not own the Rival Schools characters (darn). I'm not making any money off them. I'm doing this for entertainment purposes only. Original characters and plots belong to me.

Author: Hey—thought I abandoned this fic, didn't you? Nah. Just took a few months off. (laughs) With that said, enjoy the chapter, and remember to review after! All reviews are cherished and put on a shelf of pride.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE INCREDIBLY IMPATIENT: EDGE HAS A REAL FIGHT.

~~

Shouts and cheers rang out when the kickboxer's glove made rough contact with his weary opponent's face. Edge whooped and yelled. He shadowboxed, imitating the fighters' moves like the most enthusiastic sport spectators.

"Did you see that?!" he exclaimed rhetorically. He didn't even look down at his seated companion, but was fixed upon the match before him.

Rei had to admit—she had never seen him happier. His face lit up with pleased expressions whenever he witnessed violent fights. It was a bit scary to think of it that way, but she had decided long ago not to be scared of anything he had to show her. It was mostly a façade to keep his reputation.

The roar of the crowd suddenly magnified itself when the knockout of one of the kickboxers occurred. The winner lowered his leg that had quite forcefully kicked the other into oblivion. He lifted his gloved hands above his head, basking in the glory of victory. The referee called the time and the complete K.O. to the champion.

Rei slowly stood up, clapping and cheering like everyone around her. The win was justly deserved. She'd seen this particular combatant before, in another town. Actually, she had known him in her hometown. With her luck, she might run into him if she and Edge decided to go down to the floor.

That might not be a good thing, she thought sadly.

"Yo. That guy is waving to you," Edge told her absently as he bent down to get his soda.

She despondently looked up. A man near the balcony stairs approached them. Her heart fluttered. Finally, a real friend!  "Su-kun!"

The young man with short dark hair and a goatee jogged the rest of the way and embraced her. He held her back, looked at her belly, and whistled. "Wow, you're bigger than last time I saw you!"

"Su-kun, it's so nice to see you!" Rei beamed. She turned around and gestured to Edge. "Hey, this is Sumitomo Uchida. He's one of my friends from my old home. Su-kun, this is my very good friend, Edge Yamada."

Sumitomo held out his hand to the knife-wielder as a sign of friendship. Edge nodded to the newcomer. He didn't like handshakes. Rei cleared her throat nervously.

"Well! What are you doing here, Su-kun?" she asked.

"Just came to see Ken's fight. Looks like another victory for the most inflated ego in history," he rolled his eyes. "Hey! Do you two want to come to the after party? It's about to get started. Come on, it'll be just like old times!"

Rei faced Edge. "What do you think?"

He shrugged. "Whatever."

"That's a 'yes' in Edge-speak," she told Sumitomo with a chuckle. Edge snorted.

~~

Oh, what was I thinking? We shouldn't have come! Rei thought, very distressed. She had been so happy to see Sumitomo that she'd totally overlooked the fact that she would have to mingle with people.

"Good thing I have this," she muttered to herself, and put on Edge's class ring again, twisted upside down. It worked. Even a robust man at the door had congratulated her. Edge, at that time, had separated from her while rolling his eyes and heading for the food table. Sumitomo sighed as they walked around.

"How are you doing these days?" he asked in a gentle, concerned voice. "Have you talked at all with—"

"No. I don't want to talk to him and he most certainly does not want to talk with me. It's bad enough his best friend is here," she replied bitterly. When she saw the hurt look on Sumitomo's voice, her expression softened. "I'm okay, Su-kun. I don't need him. I have this baby and we're going to live quite peacefully without him."

He stroked his goatee and nodded. "Well, I'm glad. You're like a sister to me. I was so sad to see you leave." Sumitomo frowned and raised himself up to his tiptoes to look over people's heads. "Ya know, your new boyfriend is practically inhaling food. I hope someone knows the Heimlich."

"He's not my boyfriend," Rei informed. She laughed at the image of Edge stuffing food into his mouth, but she chose not to turn and look.

Sumitomo's eyebrows rose. He rocked back on the balls of his feet and placed one hand in his tweed trouser pockets. The young man looked very surprised and a bit confused. His other hand touched hers. "What's with that ring, then?"

"It's a cover. You know, to get rid of gossip," the pregnant girl explained. "He's the decoy. His nice parents pay him to keep me company and to keep me from getting lost. Edge is actually very sweet if you learn to push the right buttons."

"Uh-huh. Sure. And you do or don't like him?" Sumitomo asked with a knowing smile.

Rei chortled with more laughter. "No way! How could I? He's a knife wielding maniac most of the time. He's just a friend, Su-kun."

"Whatever you say, Rei-chan."

"Well, well, well. Whom do we have here?" a deep voice said from behind her.

Rei immediately saw the disapproval in Sumitomo's eyes as he looked over her shoulder. Stifling her insecurities and forcing a bright smile onto her face, she turned around. Her expression turned crestfallen when she realized who had addressed her. She cleared her throat and smoothed out invisible wrinkles on her skirt.

"Hello, Ken. Congratulations on your good luck," she quipped. Rei knew from past experiences that Ken hated the idea of luck and relished the thought of his superior skill, which supposedly had nothing to do with luck.

The champion kickboxer sneered. "It's amazing how many poor wayward and wretched girls they allow to walk around the streets." He looked down at the hand that Sumitomo still held—now a bit more protectively than anything else. "I see you managed to con your way into an engagement." He glanced at Sumitomo. "Don't tell me you're the fool."

"No, I'm not. And for your information, there is no fool—"

"There's a very capable fighter willing to kick your ass if I ask him to," Rei lied. There was no sense in giving Ken more satisfaction by saying that she still had no man and that the baby would most likely be born out of wedlock.

Ken glared at her and raised the volume of his voice. "I'm so glad that my best friend agreed with me when I said it was time for him to dump you. You're just a whore and that bastard of a child in your belly proves it!"

Silence consumed the banquet hall. Rei could feel every eye on her. She forced herself to control her breathing. No way would someone as cruel as Ken get to her. She'd spent the majority of the last few months growing indifferent to men and women like him! Plenty of people were kind and accepting, like Sumitomo right next to her!

Don't cry. Don't cry, she commanded herself desperately, though tears were already welling up in her eyes. She took a step back.

"That's right. Get out of here. This is my victory party. The likes of you have no business here with good, wholesome people," Ken hissed.

A trickle of moisture dripped down her left cheek. After that, the invisible dam broke and salty tears flooded from her eyes as she turned heel and ran through the crowd and out the door. Sumitomo called out to his friend, but it was too late. Rei was gone. Men and women began murmuring amongst themselves at the scandal.

"Damn it, Ken! Just because you're a champion doesn't mean you can walk all over people!" Sumitomo yelled.

Ken faked a pout. "Aw, Sumi. What are you going to do? Hit me?"

When the other man didn't reply, Ken laughed raucously.

"He might not, but I sure as fucking hell have no problem with it!"

Ken frowned. He turned and—

---immediately felt his head snap back when a fist came out of nowhere and struck his nose. Ken stumbled to the side, instantly reaching up to touch his face. Blood was coming from his nostrils. He stood up straight and looked at his unknown attacker. "Who the hell are you?"

Edge took his stance, clenching his fists. "I've been looking for days for an excuse to fight, and seeing someone as arrogant as you actually get away with humiliating people is just freaking perfect for me. So, come on!" He grinned maniacally. "I've always wanted to kick the ass of a champion kickboxer. I won't even use my knives. They're too good for your snake blood!"

The crowd began to part to give them room. Though there were security guards at every door of the room, they made no move to stop Edge. Ken appeared rather insulted that no on spoke against the challenging stranger, but these silent observers were also loved seeing fights whether those brawls were professionally sanctioned or not.

Ken decided to take the initiative and attacked. He used his sped to go in, throw two very hard punches, and back out again. Edge blocked the first right punch. He felt his face sting as the left cross struck his eye.

He squinted through his unhurt eye. He yelled something incoherent and launched a flying kick at Ken, who weakly blocked it and took the brunt of the hit on his left shoulder.

The crowd started to cheer, growing bloodthirsty at the sight of the two men fighting it out. Sumitomo stood off to the side with a grim look on his face. He did not approve of it at all, but he wasn't stupid enough to try and interrupt them. All he could do was help Edge limp out of the room and find Rei whenever they finished because he didn't expect a teenage kid to beat a kickboxing champion.

The two fighters exchanged blow after blow, gaining more bruises and welts than they chose to acknowledge. Neither let their growing injuries stop them. They lashed out at each other like wild animals.

Edge knew he was at a disadvantage because he chose not to use his weapons. But he would prove it to them all that he was just as good without them. He jumped back from a quick right hook that connected with the side of Ken's head.

His adrenalin was pumping double time through his veins. Edge panted and summoned all his energy for a Burning Vigor attack.

Ken couldn't even make out the string of words that Edge yelled as the spiky blonde charged him at full speed with a glowing battle aura that blinded him. He could feel several punches, kicks, and even knife-like slashes batter his already beaten and tired body before flying back and crashing into the refreshment table. He blacked out.

~~

Rei cursed herself for showing weakness in front of Ken, of all people. She never wanted to give him nor her ex-boyfriend the satisfaction of knowing that they got to her. Her tears had ceased now, but she still dabbed at her eyes with a tissue and sniffled. So here she was, crying alone on a bench, waiting for a taxi to come by. She had called one a few minutes previous, and it wouldn't take that long for her to be on her way home.

Behind her, she could hear the automatic sliding doors of the hotel open. Two pairs of loud footsteps echoed on the tile. A voice muttered something, which caused its companion to snort, then groan in pain.

Blinking her eyes and checking herself until she was sure she was presentable, Rei turned her head. She immediately stood up and gasped. "What happened?"

Edge limped toward her with Sumitomo's help. He hated having to lean on someone, but it was better than dragging himself outside on all fours. Rei's hometown friend didn't speak much. He obviously figured that the spiky blonde was big on reputation and pride, so saying anything to him would result in more curses.

"Su-kun…" Rei began.

"He beat the living daylights out of Ken," Sumitomo explained. Edge let go of him and collapsed onto the bench. He wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth with the back of his hand. "He's really good for a kid."

"Hey! I'm not a kid! You want to pick a fight with me, I'll—" Edge began before Rei clamped her hand over his mouth. He glared at her and slapped her hand away.

Rei bowed her head toward Sumitomo. "Thank you, Su-kun. You can go back inside now."

He sighed. "Take care, Rei-chan. Or maybe I shouldn't say that, since Mr. I'm-not-a-kid here seems to be taking care for you."

Edge rolled his eyes and turned his head away. Rei approached Sumitomo and gave him one last embrace. The two hometown friends smiled at each other sadly and parted ways. She watched his retreating form enter the hotel and disappear from sight.

The taxi arrived. Rei helped Edge into the cab though he protested about getting in by his self. She decided to be very patient with him, especially since he had stood up for her toward an old enemy. During the ride home, they nevertheless argued. Edge continued to claim that he did it because it gave him excuses to beat someone more famed for fighting than him.

She didn't believe half of it, but decided not to push the subject further. He never admitted to doing anything nice. If Rei acted mushy about his standing up for her, Edge would most certainly call the cab to a halt and get out. She called up to the cab driver. "Can you stop over there for a few seconds?"

"What for?" Edge asked.

The cab driver did as he was instructed. When they were parked in front of the convenience store, she got out. "I'm going to get you some ice for that black eye."

He huffed and slammed the door behind him. She smirked and started toward the store. Rei called over her shoulder, "And don't think you can drive away and strand me here! You don't have any money to pay for the cab!"

The driver perked up at this statement and turned to glare at Edge, who sunk down further into the seat. The injured knife wielder stayed in this position until his unlikely companion returned a few minutes later with a small ice pack.

She got back in and told the driver to continue on their way. "Come here," she ordered him and leaned forward with the ice pack raised in one hand. He reluctantly did so. "Looks like some skin broke, too. Knowing you, I'm sure your parents have bottles of disinfectant in the bathroom, right?"

Edge winced as she gently pressed the ice pack against his closed eye, which was already turning purple in skin pigment. He held it in place while Rei lowered her hand. She sighed and leaned back.

"In any case, I'm glad somebody finally beat Ken. I'm not entirely glad you did it at his victory party, but maybe now this ought to knock the jerk off his high horse."

"If not me, that Sumitomo guy would have done it sooner or later. He looked like he wanted to, really bad," Edge muttered. "I would've backed him up."

Rei frowned. "I suppose he would."

~~

When they arrived at the Yamada residence, they discovered that Edge's older brother was in his old room, staying for the weekend studying for college finals. He attempted to talk to Edge as Rei helped the blonde into the bathroom for the disinfectant, but his brother accidentally spoke the name "Eiji" instead, earning him a slammed door in the face.

"That's your brother! Why are you so—"

"I'm not listening to another lecture on fighting from Mr. Perfect. And no doubt he's working on one right now about impregnating girlfriends," he growled as he sat down on the toilet with the top seat cover put down.

Rei cringed. She opened the medicine cabinet and found a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. She also found a cotton pad for her to pour it on. "Here. Lift your face up."

"I'm not a baby!"

"I know you're not. Babies don't get into stupid fist fights," she replied evenly and bent over to dab at his face.

As soon as the soaked cotton pad made contact with the skin breaks on his face, he hissed and jerked his head away. "That stings, damn it!"

"Now you're being a baby," Rei reprimanded. "For crying out loud, come here." She took his face into her hands and tilted it upward. The dark haired girl leaned down and blew gently across the shallow cuts. "There. Now does that feel better?"

He muttered something and turned away before she saw him blush. Rei dabbed some antibiotic cream onto his face and his knuckles where the skin had also broken. Then she commanded him to put the cold compress back on his face while she went out of the bathroom for something she could drink.

Edge stayed in the bathroom, looking in the mirror from his seat and wondering how he could stop his cheeks from being pink. He cursed and hit the sink counter with his uninjured hand.

Minutes passed by the time Edge's older brother came to the doorway with a cordless phone in hand. "Phone for you."

Edge stood up and took it from him. Just when his older sibling was about to say something, he slammed the door closed once again in his face.

"Yeah, what is it?" he said impatiently into the phone speaker.

"It's me," Gan's voice answered. "Man, some weird stuff went down today. I think that Kyosuke guy is hiding something from us."

"Oh?" Edge yawned. "What happened?"

~~

Earlier that day

Akira and Gan waited for the Taiyo students in the normal place. Up until that day, they were no closer to finding out who had been behind the attacks and disappearances. Akira missed her brother even more with each passing sunrise and sunset.

Finally, three familiar students approached the street corner, shaded by a large tree. As soon as she saw them, Akira got up from the bench and approached with Gan closely following her.

"Kagami. We have to talk," she said inn as low and as threatening a voice as she could muster.

Kyosuke's two companions looked up at their tall friend, who remained unmoved by Akira's tone of voice, then glared at her. Gan stood with his arms folded across his broad chest. He silently challenged them to speak out against her.

The spectacled boy placed his hands calmly in his pockets. "Something wrong, Kazama-san?"

She hated him. She hated him for being polite while she was so openly being disrespectful toward him. She hated him for being so mysterious. Most importantly, Akira hated his peaceful demeanor. It was a slap to the face to see him act so nonchalant around her. She was one of the most feared people at Gedo, being Big Boss's little "brother"! Why wasn't he intimidated?

"Word on the street that there's this guy named Hyo connected to some place called Justice High School. Rumor also says that you know him."

Kyosuke pushed his glasses up the bridge of his straight, perfect nose. "You know what they say about rumors."

"Yeah, that they're always based on truth," she snapped.

"Kyosuke, is what she said true?" Hinata asked meekly, gazing at her friend with an unspoken hurt clear in her eyes. Her fists were clenched nervously at her sides.

He grimaced. A few moments passed before he finally decided to speak. "I… I've heard of him. I don't know him, but I've heard of him."

"What have you heard?" Gan asked.

"That he's dangerous. That's all. I don't know anything else, but if I were ever to meet him, to run away…" he trailed off. Kyosuke coughed. "That's it."

Akira didn't believe a word he spoke, but she had no choice but to leave it at that for the time being. She was outnumbered, three to two. And though she didn't trust Kyosuke, she had to give the other two, Hinata and Batsu, some credit. They appeared very sincere—especially since Batsu's mother, a school nurse, had also vanished.

"Well then. My people will start an investigation on this Hyo guy. You had better do the same and send the message on to those Pacific and Gorin people, too."

Kyosuke nodded and smiled. "No problem."

"Come on, Gan," she barked and stalked away.

As soon as they rounded the corner, Batsu faced his two comrades. "I'm following them."

"Why?" Hinata inquired.

"Something's not right with that smaller one. I'll let you know what happens," the dark uniformed boy said and ran away before they could voice their own opinion.

She sighed. "Just great." Hinata paused. "Hey, Kyosuke?" She tried to force her cheeks to their natural color, but a blush colored her face.

"Yes?" he replied without looking at her.

"How did you hear about Hyo? How come I've never heard of him?" she asked awkwardly.

An almost imperceptible shadow crossed his features. "You're too good and pure to be hearing about nasty things like that." He looked down at the petite girl and smiled. His hand reached out and brushed some of her bangs from her eyes. Hinata wrestled with her inside emotions about the close proximity of his hands and face.

"Kyosuke…" she whispered.

"Don't worry about it. Let's go find the others. Didn't you say your friend Sakura was somewhere nearby today?"

She walked after him rather blindly, staring at his back as they walked in the other direction as their other comrades. Hinata hated to admit it to herself, but she would follow her handsome and noble friend anywhere. Even if he never told her where they were going.

~~

Gan patted his stomach. "I'm hungry. You go ahead home and I'll meet you there," he said. "Oh, man. Food…"

Akira rolled her eyes from within her helmet. "Sure. Just hurry it up."

Batsu watched the two while being hidden in the bushes. He plotted his confrontation. He would sneak around the alley and surprise her there, forcing her to answer his questions. Something felt so wrong about Akira Kazama. He was sure that the short biker delinquent was lying to him and his friends.

Gan walked away in the opposite direction while the dark leather clad one headed in the direction that Batsu had predicted he would take. He left his hiding place in the bushes and sprinted the long way around to get to the alley before she passed it.

Akira was frustrated. There was simply no other word to describe how she felt that day and the day before that and the day before that

She trudged along the sidewalk, wondering if she should have taken her motorcycle so she wouldn't have to walk. With each day dressed as a boy, she felt more and more unlike herself.

"Kazama!" a voice yelled from her right.

Akira immediately brought up her arm as a defensive guard position and widened her stance. "What do you want?"

Batsu stepped out from the shadows of the alley, also setting up his stance. "Ever since the first day I met you, I always thought you were lying about something. I'm here to find out what you're keeping from us."

A bead of sweat slipped down her neck. Akira didn't like where this was going. Maybe he already knew about her secret. Maybe he was simply toying with her. She growled. "The only way you're learning anything is if you beat it out of me!"

"Gladly!" he yelled and charged her for the first attack.

Akira blocked and countered his powerful volley of punches, absorbing very few of the hits and dodging the rest. She spun around, performing a roundhouse kick to his head.

"Argh!" she grunted as he caught her ankle and tossed her over his shoulder.

She kicked her leg back and freed herself from his hold. On her way through the air, she kicked out with her other leg, planting her boot in the middle of his back. She touched ground with her hands and did a back flip back into her stance.

"Fancy, fancy," Batsu muttered, moving his shoulders about to ease the pain in his back.

Akira yelled a battle cry and went into one of her less known Burning Vigor attacks. Batsu felt himself flying backwards from the impact that her attack inflicted. He got up from the ground in record time for someone as battered as him. He couldn't lose. He wouldn't let himself lose.

He tackled her, downright. The slight size of his opponent made it easy for him to do so, though staying there and keeping her pinned was the harder part. He punched her hard in the chest, eliciting a yelp from Akira.

"Now maybe I can finally see that damn ugly face of yours and punch your lights out!" he exclaimed angrily and reached for the helmet unfastening.

Akira panicked. "No!"

The helmet came off. Batsu immediately jerked back on his knees, mouth wide open in surprise. He stared at her incredulously. "You're a girl?!"

She did the only thing she could think of. She threw her hardest right punch at him and hit him square on the nose. At once, Batsu fell back and off her body. Both hands covered his bloody nose as he strained to keep conscious. Akira scrambled across the ground for her helmet and yanked it back on before someone came by and saw.

"Hello?"

Just in time, she thought and stood up.

Kei rounded the corner, holding her backpack by one strap. She recognized the two fighters at once. "What happened?"

"Nothing," Akira snapped. "Mind your own business and go back to your friend."

She frowned. "That's just it. I'm looking for her right now. She gets lost easily without my navigating." Kei cringed when she saw the blood from Batsu's nose dripping on the ground. He was slowly making his way back onto his feet. "Are you sure you two are okay—"

"We're fine!" Batsu yelled this time. "Get the hell out of here!"

Kei squeaked and jogged past him at once. The Taiyo student leaned against the brick wall of the alley and groaned. "Sheesh. For a girl, you sure do hit like a guy."

Akira blushed. "It's your own damn fault attacking me like that!"

"At least I was right," Batsu retorted. "You were lying. You're a girl, not a guy! Why are you parading around like one, huh?"

"Do you think that guys like Edge and Gan would listen to me if I was a girl?" she whispered furiously, pointing her finger at his chest.

He reached into his pocket for a handkerchief to put over his bloodied nose. "Well, okay, I see your point. But still!"

"Still? Oh, give me a break," she groused. "If you tell anyone, I am going to kill you!"

He wiped his nose and tilted his head back while pinching it. In a nasal voice, he replied, "Fine. But if you lie about anything else, I'll know."

Akira snorted. "Whatever."

She marched past him. Batsu leaned around the corner of the alley and called to her. She looked around and caught his gaze again.

"You know, you'd look pretty cute if you actually dressed like a girl. Not that you would, but just to let you know," he commented.

"Go home," she yelled and picked up her pace. In the back of her mind, she couldn't help but wonder: Maybe I ought to… try at least. I mean, if he says I… oh, what am I thinking?! I have to stay dressed like this or else!

Meanwhile in another part of town, Sakura scratched her head. "I can't believe this! Kei is going to have my head on a platter by the time we find her!" She paused and said over her shoulder without looking. "Thanks again for helping me out. I know that we don't know each other that well, but… you know."

Roberto nodded. "No problem. I'm just worried that Natsu will have killed Shoma by the time I get back."

Sakura giggled. "What is with those two, anyway?"

"Trust me. You don't want to know. I'm not sure I even want to know," the soccer player chuckled.

A familiar blur ran past them, squealing in fright. Sakura blinked.

"Kei?!"

The blur stopped mid step and whirled around. Kei ran toward her friend and nearly knocked her over with a hug. "Oh, you're here! I was so worried! Especially since those other two were fighting, I was just thinking what horrible fights you might have gotten into… and if it was as bad as the fight I saw with that guy's nose all bloodied up, I don't know what I would have—" she stopped when she saw Roberto.

Kei coughed. "I'm sorry, Sakura. Did I interrupt something?" She paused. "Because it's totally okay. I'll just wait for you around the corner or something." She leaned in close and whispered furtively, "At least it isn't some fighter like you meet at your stupid matches. Soccer players! Why didn't I think of that?!"

She waved goodbye and ran around the corner before her confused best friend even had time to blink. Sakura laughed nervously and turned around to Roberto.

"So! How about this weather, huh?"

Things after that lapsed into an awkward silence.

~~

Present time

Edge yawned again. "So Akira's pissed that some guy actually came close to beating him and this Kyosuke dude is still hiding something. Okay. I can do something about that later, I suppose. I can't right now. Not for a couple of days." Or at least until this black eye disappears.

"Man, you never do anything. I already apologized!"

"Well, Small Fry didn't, and I don't like him. I won't lie about it. I flat out don't like that little maggot—even if he's Big Boss's little brother!"

There was a knock at the door. Rei's voice floated over to him from the other side. "Edge? I fixed some soup if you want. Your brother is telling me all about you when you were little. It's so cute!"

Edge paled. "I have to go, Gan. Code red emergency. I'll call you tomorrow."

"What's the emerg—"

Click.

~~

Author: Wow. I sat down and typed it all in two days. That's the fastest I've ever produced one of these chapters. I hope you liked it! I'm not good at fight scenes, but I'm working on it. Practice makes perfect, right?

Well, tell me what you think! Either by review or email, I don't care! Constructive criticism and feedback is always welcome!

Sulia Serafine, silverwLng@aol.com